Abandon Anger – Kodhavagga – Dhammapada 17

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Introduction

For a complete understanding of this sutta in the context intended by an awakened human being please read the linked suttas at the end of this article. ([x])

The Dhammapada is a twenty-six chapter volume in the fifth book of the Sutta Pitaka known as the Khuddaka Nikaya. The Khuddaka Nikaya is a fifteen-book collection of short texts difficult to classify within the other volumes. The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse that can be read as a concise though thorough presentation of an awakened human being’s teachings. [1]

The Dhammapada is loosely formatted by topic. The individual topic(s) presented in each chapter mostly stand on their own with the understanding that everything the Buddha taught can only be understood and developed skillfully within the context of Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. [2,3]

The Kodhavagga is the seventeenth chapter of the Dhammapada. This chapter teaches the importance to recognize and abandon anger. Anger with ourselves, with other’s, or with the world, is an easily identified manifestation of self-identification with impermanent phenomena arising and passing away. Anger is the immediate manifestation of ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

My comments below are in italics.

Abandon Anger – Kodhavagga

Dhammapada 17

Abandon anger and its root, conceit. Go beyond greed, aversion, and deluded thinking. When clinging to “Name and Form” is abandoned completely no stress or suffering arise.

“Name and Form” is ongoing self-identification with ordinary phenomena arising and passing away eg: attaching “my” name to any physical or mental form. This is ongoing fabrication. [4]

As a strong charioteer controls their charge the wise Dhamma practitioner controls anger as anger arises. This is a true charioteer – others only hold tight to the reins.

Overcome anger by being free of anger. Overcome evil by skillful behavior. Overcome miserliness with generosity. Overcome lies rooted in ignorance with Four Noble Truths.

Do not give in to anger. Always speak the Truth. Be generous with little. These three are praised by the Noble Ones.

The wise Dhamma practitioner, harmless, well-restrained, abandons the living death of ignorance. Confusion, delusion, and suffering cease. [5]

Always vigilant and well-focused, ever-mindful of the goal, their defilements fade away.

Ignorance is an ancient practice. Rooted in ignorance they blame those who remain silent as well as those who talk too much and even those who speak with moderation. For the ignorant, there is no one who is not blamed.

There never was and there will never be a person who can be wholly blamed or wholly praised.

But, there are those who are praised by the wise who, observing others from Right View day after day know them to be flawless in character, wise, virtuous, knowing the Four Truths.

These are as worthy of praise as a coin of refined gold. They are praised everywhere.

Always guard against angry speech. Always remain in control of speech. Abandon verbal misconduct and practice Right Speech. [6]

Always guard against angry thoughts. Always remain in control of thoughts. Abandon mental misconduct and practice Right Intention.

The Wise Dhamma practitioner, well-concentrated, remains mindful and restrained in thought, word, and deed. They are well-controlled and free of anger.

End Of Chapter

 

  1. Pali Canon
  2. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Fabrications
  5. Wisdom Of Restraint
  6. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta

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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings  (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.

Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.

I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.

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